One year ago yesterday, prostate cancer killed my dad. It took a couple of years—slow, incremental declines that we could rationalize or ignore—but, eventually, there were just too many things wrong and it was over. One year ago yesterday.
Watching someone die in real life isn't like in the movies, because you can't make a movie that's four days long where the entire "plot" is just three women crying and eating candy while a brusque nurse absentmindedly adjusts a catheter bag and tries to comfort them with cups of room-temperature water. My dad lost consciousness on Saturday night, but he didn't die until Monday afternoon. All the hours in between, we just sat there. Waiting. Each breath got slower and rougher—I use a French press now because I can't bear the percolator—and we sat and listened to every one.
Sometimes a team of doctors would come in and loom over us with well-rehearsed concern. "How are you doing?" they would ask. Oh, you mean besides sitting here on this plastic hospital chair listening to the world's best dude struggle for breath for the past 36 hours, UM, FUCKING GANGBUSTERS, I GUESS. "Is there anything we can do?" Well, apparently not, considering this whole long-slow-death thing that's happening in this room right now. But you're the doctor. You tell me.
There's been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about "hipster racism" or "ironic racism"—or, as I like to call it, racism. It's, you know, introducing your black friend as "my black friend"—as a joke!!!—to show everybody how totally not preoccupied you are with your black friend's blackness. It's the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me—to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. "But I went to college — I can't be racist!" Turns out, you can.
People benefit from racism—hell, I benefit from it every day—and things that benefit powerful people don't just suddenly get "fixed" and disappear because Halle Berry won an Oscar or whatever. Modern racism lives in entrenched de facto inequalities, in coded language about "work ethic" and "states' rights," in silent negative spaces like absence and invisibility, and in Newt Gingrich's hair. And in irony.
I assume, if you're reading this, that you are most likely a human being with eyeballs in a head on top of a torso with nipples on it sitting on a butt attached to some genitals and legs and feet. Or some approximation thereof, give or take a few limbs/eyeballs/genitals as needed. In that case, congratulations! You have a body. And your body is—truth!—naked under your clothes right now. Look to your left. Look to your right. Literally 100% of the people within your line of sight are also naked under their clothes! And if, for some reason, some of those clothes happened to come off, or go invisible, or get burned off by acid rain or the erotic ray-gun of a lecherous sex-doctor, you might accidentally behold your neighbors' nakedness. And do you know what would happen then? Literally nothing. Nothing would happen to anyone. (Except for that sex-doctor. We gotta get that dude off the streets.)
And that's why our culture's nudity taboo is STUPID. And it's not stupid because I'm some latent nudist who wants to go out and run around flapping my bunz all over town. I profoundly don't. Nor do I particularly want to drink in the sight of grampa's freshly buffed testes while standing in line at Starbucks or whatever. I'm fine with people keeping their clothes on in public 99% of the time. But the issue here is twofold: 1) When people's clothes come off—in public or private, whether by accident (Janet Jackson) or on purpose (Kate Middleton)—we react like fucking maniacs; and 2) This taboo is gendered and unfair, and women bear the brunt of it.
Growing up, I was always fat. Not as fat as I am now, but never, ever skinny. Never small. I was tall and athletic and big—I knocked stuff over, I blocked people's views, I was always in the way. Even if they made fashionable clothes in my size (which they didn't—OOH, MORE LOUD-PATTERNED SMOCKS, PLEASE), I didn't know how to make anything look good on my body. I was the girl the mean kids would target with the old, "See that guy over there? He likes you" gag. Good one, bros! In case you don't get it, the punchline is that I'm fat. So obviously he didn't like me—it would be against all the laws of the universe. At the same time, though, I played three sports, I was active and healthy, I was good at school, I was funny, and I was popular. I was a happy kid. And I was still miserable. Because that's what fat does.
I cannot even imagine being that same fat kid in 2012—having to put up with all the misery and the shame and the tunics (SO MANY TUNICS), along with the added pain of knowing that the government officially considers you an epidemic. You're a "problem" that needs to be "fixed." Newscasters with knitted brows talk about you in the abstract like your butt is a crime wave or a natural disaster; they show bodies that look like yours with their heads chopped off; they tell you that this body you have—the one that grew around you out of nowhere, that you're just getting used to—is bankrupting the nation and mowing down future generations like fucking tuberculosis. Tu-pork-ulosis. Whatever.
Womanhood is full of frustrating hunches, and society is full of people who want to pooh-pooh those hunches. "I'm pretty sure I'm being treated like shit right now because of my vagina," we women say. "Shut UP, women! Because men get injured in industrial accidents! Therefore, equality reigns!" the pooh-poohers reply. There's almost nothing as satisfying as having one's hunches backed up by science. So color me delighted by this new study published in American Political Science Review, which found that, in collaborative group settings, "the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation—amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke."
HA. That is just about the truest shit that I have ever heard. I (and, I suspect, pretty much any woman) can access that feeling really quickly and vividly—when you find yourself in conversation with a circle of men and, against your better judgment and all your feminist impulses, you just turtle up. You retire. You forfeit, because their lungs are bigger, they're groomed for assertiveness since birth, and you're groomed to assume that nobody will take you seriously anyway. You wait for a pause in a room of interruptors. Sigh. I do it like crazy, and I am a fucking loudmouth feminist yelling machine.
I've been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that's been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it's that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don't strap fake hair to your head! That's also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so long putting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn't going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don't like about you in great detail. Over and over. You're welcome.
I am fucking weary right now. I'm weary in the way that a lot of women and people of color and poor people and people in the middle and people on the bottom are weary. But I'm not weary of struggling (to whatever extent I manage) against the massive, entrenched systems of disenfranchisement in our often shitty country—that struggle is my job as a compassionate human being with a brain. Nope, what I'm weary of is the pervasive (and successful) campaign of obfuscation and misinformation perpetuated by conservatives to convince people that the thing they are struggling against doesn't exist.
They insist that disregard for women's bodies is actually regard for "life." They destroy families in the name of "preserving families." They claim that people who point out racism are racist for acknowledging race, rebrand blatant exploitation as "the free market" (the gall of putting "free" right in the name), and position themselves as down-home folks "of the people," when in actuality they think that the people are fucking stupid. The right's propaganda game is on point.
Attention, men: I know the world is scary and weird right now. I know things are changing a little bit. I know that some of the women are restless and we complain sometimes and sometimes they let us make TV shows and say our opinions real loud. Sometimes we tell you about things you're doing—things you weren't even aware of, maybe—that bother us, and that hurts you, because you like to think of yourselves as good, progressive, helpful dudes. But PLEASE CHILL OUT. Women becoming more vocal about our dissatisfaction does not mean that that dissatisfaction didn't exist before. It just means we're ready to tell you about it.
Hello, precious flowers. I know it's been a difficult couple days for all of us, what with certain people interrupting certain other people (so rude!) and certain other people suggesting that said interruptors deserve to be hilariously gang-raped (so edgy!). In case you're not caught up: comedian Daniel Tosh made some rape jokes at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, a female audience member informed him that "rape jokes are never funny," in retribution Tosh said it would be hilarious if she were gang-raped right there in the club, then Twitter went fucking nuts. If you want more information, just google "UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH" and click on whatever.
At this point, the conversation has devolved into two polarized camps: outraged feminists arguing that "rape jokes are never funny," and defensive comics wailing about how the "thought police" is "silencing" them. (The owner of the Laugh Factory disputes the account, explaining that Tosh made a rape "comment" and not a rape "joke," but that's pretty much irrelevant to the larger point here.) Here's the problem: everybody is wrong. I actually agree with Daniel Tosh's sentiment in his shitty back-pedaling tweet ("The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them #deadbabies"). The world is full of terrible things, including rape, and it is okay to joke about them. But the best comics use their art to call bullshit on those terrible parts of life and make them better, not worse. The key—unless you want to be called a garbage-flavored dick on the internet by me and other humans with souls and brains—is to be a responsible person when you construct your jokes. Since the nuances of personal responsibility seem to escape so many people, let's go through it. Let's figure out rape jokes.
I know we've all already weighed in ad nauseum on "having it all" (which, in my original weigh-in, I posited is total bullshit), but let's just talk about it one more time, shall we? Because this part is important: the discussion is super-gendered, and we're never going to get past it without involving the manfolk.
Jessica Valenti at the Nation makes a cogent point today about the destructively gendered nature of "having it all"—the fact that the entire concept is predicated on the idea that caring for a family is the woman's responsibility, and it's our responsibility because we are naturally suited to it. It's a concept you learn on the first day of Women's Studies—that women with jobs work all day, then come home to a "second shift" of cooking, housework, and childcare. Makes you think that "having it all" might just mean "having ALL THE STUFF to do."
Here is a thing you should know: I will never, EVER stop saying "vagina" when I mean "vulva." Yes, I know the difference. No, I don't care how mad you are about it. Yes, I think your outrage is misdirected and humorless and pedantic and boring. No, I'm not sorry. And if one more person e-mails to tell me the difference between a vagina and a vulva I'm going to start calling both of them "inside-out-dong-sock." Vagina vagina vagina vagina vagina.
Have you guys ever watched the Disney Channel? Like seriously watched it. For hours. Because that shit is crazy. If you haven't watched it, and if you don't know any kids between the ages of 8 and 12, you probably aren't aware that there's a whole universe of celebrity going on right under our noses. Hundreds of "celebrities" with millions of fans. And they're generating a fucking ton of money. The tweens are in charge. We are their minions.
Oh, great! Let's talk some more about how women aren't funny. Science has performed yet another study of terrible people, and—surprise!—unearthed terrible results: Apparently women in the workplace are incapable of making funny jokes. Men's jokes, on the other hand, receive laughs 90% of the time. The reason? Well, science checked with conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom explained that "Men in general are the 'funnier sex.'" COOL STORY, BROS. TELL IT AGAIN.
For the bazillionth time, it is known, I am pretty fat. We have covered this. And yet, contrary to popular belief, I sometimes participate in non-fat activities such as exercising, enjoying a crispy salad, not crying, wearing a pencil skirt, and not reclining under the gravy spout all day while I wait for Jerry Springer to de-fuse my giant butt from my toilet. It's true! Go ahead and verify it! E-mail my mom! I will wait.
...See? 'Kay. So, for yeeeeeears, before I shacked up with an artist and signed a really expensive (but totally worth it) lease, I used to go to the gym every day. I worked out with a personal trainer. I went to classes. I showered in public. And it was really, really fucking difficult—but not for the reasons you might think.
If there's one thing I'm always going to remember about the 2012 election, it's that it was the moment I first saw the white male monopoly lose its vise-grip on American culture. Not that white men aren't in charge anymore—they are, and they will probably always be a dominant political bloc—but there's a sense that they're no longer entitled to win just for playing. They're going to have to enter and roll, just like the rest of us (the dice are still weighted, duh, but baby steps). Mitt Romney was a white dude's white dude, and 62% of white dudes had no doubt that their dude would win. Because, hey, he "looked like a president." That fantasy imploded on election day—and, with it, a whole lot of never-before-questioned white confidence.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, over the course of Obama's first term, what started as a fringe dude subculture has flourished into a thriving online community—the self-described "Manosphere," a safe haven/echo chamber for men who feel discriminated against, ignored, and blamed. Potentially false rape charges and "unfair" child support payments deserve equal or greater outrage, they say, alongside actual rapes and centuries of systemic, enforced poverty. And I don't mean that those problems are bullshit—all injustices deserve attention and care—but we're trying to cure cancer over here. You have a stuffy nose.
The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines "opening your article with a quote from a dictionary" as "the most bush-league garbage move of all time"—but that's because it's mainly used by pimply baby boys in red states who want you to know how personally wounded they are by the existence of Black History Month. In some cases, consulting a dictionary can be legit instructive. Like right now, when we have young women running around proselytizing about "modesty" in the name of women's lib. Um, ladies, no.
(28 years old, female, 5'9", 263 lbs.)
This is my body (over there—see it?). I have lived in this body my whole life. I have wanted to change this body my whole life. I have never wanted anything as much as I have wanted a new body. I am aware every day that other people find my body disgusting. I always thought that some day—when I finally stop failing—I will become smaller, and when I become smaller literally everything will get better (I've heard It Gets Better)! My life can begin! I will get the clothes that I want, the job that I want, the love that I want. It will be great! Think how great it will be to buy some pants or whatever at J. Crew. Oh, man. Pants. Instead, my body stays the same.
There is not a fat person on earth who hasn't lived this way. Clearly this is a TERRIBLE WAY TO EXIST. Also, strangely enough, it did not cause me to become thin. So I do not believe any of it anymore, because fuck it very much.
This is my body. It is MINE. I am not ashamed of it in any way. In fact, I love everything about it. Men find it attractive. Clothes look awesome on it. My brain rides around in it all day and comes up with funny jokes. Also, I don't have to justify its awesomeness/attractiveness/healthiness/usefulness to anyone, because it is MINE. Not yours.
I'm not going to spend a bunch of time blogging about fat acceptance here (but please read this), because other writers have already done it much more eloquently, thoroughly, and radically than I ever could. But I do feel obligated to try to explain what this all means.
You asked me for links, Dan, so here are some links for you. There are plenty more, but if you want me to go through each one and explain to you how these words and implications hurt and shame people, you're going to have to pay me overtime (in Doritos!!!!!). I get that you think you're actually helping people and society by contributing to the fucking Alp of shame that crushes every fat person every day of their lives—the same shame that makes it a radical act for me to post a picture of my body and tell you how much it weighs. But you're not helping. Shame doesn't work. Diets don't work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change.
Fat people already are ashamed. It's taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx. I am not concerned with whether or not fat people can change their bodies through self-discipline and "choices." Pretty much all of them have tried already. A couple of them have succeeded. Whatever. My question is, what if they try and try and try and still fail? What if they are still fat? What if they are fat forever? What do you do with them then? Do you really want millions of teenage girls to feel like they're trapped in unsightly lard prisons that are ruining their lives, and on top of that it's because of their own moral failure, and on top of that they are ruining America with the terribly expensive diabetes that they don't even have yet? You know what's shameful? A complete lack of empathy.
And if you really claim to still be confused—"Nu uh! I never said anything u guyz srsly!"—there can be no misunderstanding shit like this:
I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly—characterized as "hate speech."
1. "Rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly" is in no way a "tame statement of fact." It is not a fact at all—it is an incredibly cruel, subjective opinion that reinforces destructive, paternalistic, oppressive beauty ideals. I am not unsightly. No one deserves to be told that they're unsightly. But this is what's behind this entire thing—it's not about "health," it's about "eeeewwwww." You think fat people are icky. Eeeewww, a fat person might touch you on a plane. With their fat! Eeeeewww! Coincidentally, that's the same feeling that drives anti-gay bigots, no matter what excuses they drum up about "family values" and, yes, "health." It's all "eeeewwwww." And sorry, I reject your eeeeeewwww.
2. You are not concerned about my health. Because if you were concerned about my health, you would also be concerned about my mental health, which has spent the past 28 years being slowly eroded by statements like the above. Also, you don't know anything about my health. You do happen to be the boss of me, but you are not the doctor of me. You have no idea what I eat, how much I exercise, what my blood pressure is, or whether or not I'm going to get diabetes. Not that any of that matters, because it is entirely none of your business.
3. "But but but my insurance premiums!!!" Bullshit. You live in a society with other people. I don't have kids, but I pay taxes that fund schools. The idea that we can somehow escape affecting each other is deeply conservative. Barbarous, even. Is that really what you're going for? Good old-fashioned American individualism? Please.
4. But most importantly: I reject this entire framework. I don't give a shit what causes anyone's fatness. It's irrelevant and it's none of my business. I am not making excuses, because I have nothing to excuse. I reject the notion that thinness is the goal, that thin = better—that I am an unfinished thing and that my life can really start when I lose weight. That then I will be a real person and have finally succeeded as a woman. I am not going to waste another second of my life thinking about this. I don't want to have another fucking conversation with another fucking woman about what she's eating or not eating or regrets eating or pretends to not regret eating to mask the regret. OOPS I JUST YAWNED TO DEATH.
If you really want change to happen, if you really want to "help" fat people, you need to understand that shaming an already-shamed population is, well, shameful. Do you know what happened as soon as I rejected all this shit and fell in unconditional luuuuurve with my entire body? I started losing weight. Immediately. WELL LA DEE FUCKING DA.
(Originally published in The Stranger.)Show
A Complete ListShow Show
People Who Choose to Correct You About the Definition of "Hobo"
Am I making this up? I feel like every time someone uses the word "hobo" to mean "homeless person," somebody else has to climb waaay up on their high horse and don their semantics cap and start getting highfalutin all over town about how "a hobo is someone who rides the rails in the Great Depression, and is it 1934 right now? I don't think so! And I can't believe you don't even know what words mean. How embarrassing. Have you heard of Wikipedia? Hhhhhhhhhhhhh." Maybe I'm making all of this up, but if I'm not, I'd just like to say that I'm aware of what year it is, and I am going to continue using the word "hobo" however I please (within reasonable homeless- related limits, of course), thank you very much, and the way in which I please to use it is, "No thank you, hobo, I do not wish to go on a date with you." Also I will accept "transient."
People Who Are Mean to Hoboes
Lay off, man. Being homeless is terrible. Give the dude a dollar. (I'm still not going on a date with you, hobo.)
People Who Still Have Jobs
As bad as things are right now, this is still most people. Like, 93 percent of people. People with jobs are great, except for the few who talk shit to people without jobs (things like "Hey, get a job!" or "Where's your job?"). In such instances, these people need to be reminded that they, too, possess jobs vulnerable to layoffs and should probably shut the fuck up.
People Who Are Quietly Less Than $100 Away from Complete Destitution
You have to hope it's going to be okay. This recession can't go on forever.
People Who Secretly Have Vast Family Fortunes/Trust Funds to Keep Them from Ever Knowing Complete Destitution, or Even Mild Hardship
Just do something interesting with it. You already won. Don't be a douche.
People Who Care About "Tweet" Being the Verb Form of "Twitter" and Have Opinions About Its Usage
This includes people who think you should say "tweet" when you talk about the activity associated with Twitter and people who think you should just use the word "Twitter." These opinions are equally uninteresting. If you must use the Twitter, or not use the Twitter, just do it (or don't). Let's not bring grammar and logic and giving a shit into this.
People Who Claim to Be Afraid of Clowns
These people (and they are numerous) are attempting to cultivate a cute quirk, but they are really just aping a cute quirk cultivated by thousands of cute-quirk-cultivators before them in a giant, gross, boring feedback loop. Yes, clowns can be mildly creepy. But come on. Among the many things that are scarier than clowns: fire, earthquakes, a guy with a knife, riding the bus, colon cancer, falling down the stairs (it could happen at any time!), rapists, people who just kind of look a little rapey and are standing too close to you in line at 7-Eleven, Marlo from The Wire, influenza, and scissors.
People Who Don't Watch TV
Symbolically not doing something for the sake of not doing it is almost never evidence of sophistication. It is evidence of not knowing what you're fucking talking about. Are we really still having this conversation? Television is a part of the cultural landscape at this point—a lot of it is good. A lot of it is bad, some of which is also good. You know, LIKE ALL THINGS MADE BY HUMANS? Obviously it is also a good idea to go outside once in a while. But the presence of a television in your home does not make that decision for you. You make it. Feel free to still go outside at any time.
People Who Will Just Have a Bite of Whatever You're Having
Please, please, please just order your own lasagna.
People Who Studied Abroad in a Third-World Country
People Who Are into Whimsy
You can't really be mad at people who send away for porcelain figurines of poodles wearing poodle skirts that they saw in the back of PARADE, or who enjoy movies in which impish children attempt to call grandma in heaven on the CB radio. That'd be like punching Helen Keller in the face. These people just want to be left alone with their extremely lifelike baby replicas—small false humans filled with pretend love, that can be asphyxiated with attention and never poop, cry, or grow up to make fun of anyone's stretch pants and doily collection. Forever-babies. (Note: Sometimes people who are into whimsy vote against things like gay marriage. In which case, fuck 'em.)
People Who Complain About the Printed Seattle P-I Going Under Even Though They Never, Ever Used to Read the Seattle P-I
You know what? That's called "heart in the right place." Don't even sweat it.
People Who Are White Who Call Black People "Brothas" When Talking to Other White People, as in, "A Lot of My Friends Are Brothas"
These embarrassing people have lots of black friends and are very comfortable around black people. They also aren't weirded out about being at the gay bar because their ex-girlfriend was bisexual.
People Who Are Old
Notable old people include: Methuselah, George Burns, Andy Rooney, an elephant, Dick Van Dyke, Slade Gorton the senator, Father Time, Slade Gorton the Gorton's fisherman, Chinese people (they kick white people's asses at not dying), John McCain's mom, the old lady who dropped it into the ocean at the end, Harrison Ford.
Old People Who Think Pigeons Are Their Best Friends
Listen, old people. Pigeons do not love you. Much like robots and the British, pigeons do not have the capacity to feel love. They only have the capacity to desire croutons. And when you spread infinity croutons across the grass outside MY house, for the purpose of making pigeons love you (WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN), the only result is infinite feces. I now have to walk upon feces-encrusted streets through a feces-encrusted world. Because of you and your delusions of pigeon love. Stop it.
The opposite of old people. They are like you and me, except smaller, more illiterate, and with less money.
People Who Are Secret Hookers
They're your friends, but they're hookers! Ssssh!
No judging. Sometimes these things happen. There but for the grace of writing a bunch of bullshit in the newspaper go I.
People Who Are Pretty and Smart and Funny and Nice
You probably want to hate these people, but why bother? They are absolutely wonderful, and all we can do is deal with it and hope to be charming enough that they will some day mate with us so that our children can absorb some of their impossible magic.
People Who Are Hot Greek Waiters
Once, my sister and I were in a restaurant in Greece, having a fight, and the hot waiter (all waiters in Greece are hot) took one look at our bleak, tear-puffed faces and said, "Ouzo power." He brought us two little glasses of cold, cloudy ouzo, and the ouzo cured our fight.
People Who Smile at You on the Street
It's always nice when any noncreepy stranger smiles at you. There is not enough interstranger smiling going on these days. I also appreciate it when people working in customer service behave in a genuinely nice manner. Thank you. Please enjoy this large tip for your wonderful smile.
People Who Don't Know How to Drink
Sometimes a person forgets to eat dinner, or sometimes they just didn't have time or money, and then they end up at the bar and the only snacks available are Rainier tallboys. And yes, sure, sometimes they grab your beard and tell you, "You are drinking the most successful sausage," even though that's barely even English, and then they lose their keys and have to sleep on your floor, where they wake up utterly bewildered and have to walk back to Capitol Hill and drink a Big Gulp of Sprite for breakfast on a Thursday. Be kind to these people. They mean well.
People Who Are Only Interesting When They're Drunk
This one is a bummer, but it's so much less depressing than its half brother, which is People Who Are Just Boring All the Time.
People Who Believe in Sasquatch
What's that? You couldn't afford your bunion surgery because you spent all your money on Sasquatch detectors? And now your bunion hurts? Bummer. A few years ago, a friend of mine told me that he'd discovered the secret to finding Sasquatch (he's a believer because once, in an Idaho forest, he "heard things" that he "couldn't explain") and called some cryptozoological society to announce his epiphany: "Just find out what it eats, and then go to where that is." He and I, we are not friends anymore.
People Who Don't Believe in Evolution but Love Antibiotics
Seriously? Either you believe in science or you don't. If you want to say sentences to me like "God made the earth 29 years ago out of Billy Graham's stool" or "Every time you take the morning-after pill, Satan has two orgasms," then go ahead and stay away from Dr. Syringey O'Medicine, MD, from here on out. Because you know that pill that made your strep throat go away? Science invented that. For you. Hey, why don't you just pray for God to take care of that root canal? I'll tell you why: Because God didn't go to dental school, because dental schools don't admit people who DON'T EXIST.
Assholes with beards who do magic. In modern times, wizards look just like normal people, because they've learned to wear tracksuits and tuxedos over their robes. This means that wizards could be anywhere. Can you trust the people you work with not to be wizards?
Citizens of Russia. The sworn enemies of wizards.
Don't be ridiculous.
People Who Let Their Cat Walk Across Their Kitchen Cutting-Board, Even Though Those Are the Same Fucking Paws That Have Been Tramping Around That Shit-Filled Cat Box and I Don't See a Kitty Foot-Washing Station Around Here, Do You?
Well? Do you? ANSWER THE QUESTION.
People Who Don't Know How to Navigate a Four-Way Stop or an Uncontrolled Intersection
Can a lady get a wave, please? Just a courtesy wave. That's all I ask. These people are under the impression that rules do not apply to them. They do not have to wait their turn because they are special. They are probably the worst people on this entire list, and that includes wizards.
Animals That Are Really People Who Got Transformed by a Witch
These are people who got on the wrong side of a witch. Now they are turkeys and iguanas or some shit, and all they can do is cry (except not really, because emotional tears are a physiological phenomenon unique to humans and possibly camels). Don't loan these people money, because they obviously have bad judgment.
People Who Are Just a Down-to-Earth Guy, Who Enjoys the Little Things in Life Like Going for Walks, Lifting Weights, or Just Doing Whatever (LOL), Whose Friends Would Probably Describe Him as Honest, Truthful, Loyal, Affectionate, Compassionate, and Romanceful, and Is Looking for a Woman Who Is That Rare Combination of Stunning on the Outside and Beautiful on the Inside, and Most Importantly Down to Earth, Enjoys the Little Things in Life, Loves Children, Animals, Has a Passion, Laughter. I Especially Like Asians.
Can we just skip to the part where you gun down everyone in the Taco Bell?
People Who Try to Pretend Like They Already Knew the Story About Jimmy Stewart Smuggling a Yeti Hand out of Nepal in His Wife's Underpants
I do not believe you, unless your name is Jimmy Stewart's Wife's Vagina. And I'm pretty sure Jimmy Stewart's Wife's Vagina doesn't know how to read. So...
People Who Sit at Their Day Jobs All Day Anonymously Posting the Meanest Things They Can Think of in the Comments Sections on Blogs
These people are just mad because they all have herpes of the eyeball. And diarrhea of the heart. But just to save them some time: I am fat; I am a hipster; I am an idiot; this is the most boring, self-indulgent article ever written; I hate everything because I work for The Stranger, and if I ever say anything nice about anything I will be fired immediately because this is the policy; I should be fired right now; why don't I just go write in my LiveJournal; Dear LiveJournal, I am sooo cunty and fat; I am a "hiptard" who thinks that everything not on Capitol Hill is like that space desert in Beetlejuice with the giant sand worms, and I don't want to go there because I can't ride my fixie on the space dunes (and also I don't want to be devoured); anyway, I probably haven't even seen Beetlejuice because I'm too busy FIRING MYSELF FOR BEING FAT; Dan Savage supported the Iraq war; and something about pit bulls.
People Who Are Bill Paxton
I really enjoyed your work in Twister.
People Who Miss the Point
(See also: People Who Choose to Correct You About the Definition of "Hobo," People Who Claim to Be Afraid of Clowns, People Who Don't Watch TV, People Who Will Just Have a Bite of Whatever You're Having, Old People Who Think Pigeons Are Their Best Friends, People Who Don't Believe in Evolution but Love Antibiotics, People Who Are Bill Paxton, and Babies.)
People Who Don't Miss the Point
I love you.
(Originally published in The Stranger.)Show
A Brief and Completely True History of the Catholic ChurchShow Show
If there's one thing our current pope loves besides Jews (just kidding!), it's grown men who touch little boys' buttholes. He can't get enough of grown men touching little boys' buttholes! He loves grown men touching little boys' buttholes so much that when he finds out one of his homeys has been fiddling around back there with the genitals of a child who was just looking for guidance and care from a trusted adult, he sends them on an all-expenses paid permanent vacation to a new town filled with all-new, untouched little boys' buttholes! Allegedly! What a kook! So. Is John Ratzenberger the worst pope ever? Let's take a look back through history and FIGURE IT THE FUCK OUT.
Saint Peter (?–?)
Invented this shit. Excruciating at dinner parties. Never stopped talking about his "book deal." Chronic interrupter.
Pope Anicetus (154–167)
More like Pope Anus-eat-us! Am I right? Am I... hmmmmm. "Traditionally martyred." Bummer. Sorry for that thing I said about your anus.
Pope Formosus (891–896)
This guy was such a jerk that a year after he died, his successor dug him up and put his corpse on trial for the "crime" of being a shitty pope. For real. Google it. Formosus foolishly insisted on representing himself at his trial. Rookie mistake. His putrid and desiccated skin sack, being neither alive nor a lawyer, was unable to convince the assembly of his nonshittiness. They cut off his fingers, tossed his already dead body into the Tiber River, pulled him out, and buried him again. Later, just for laughs—there was a lot of downtime in the ninth century—they exhumed him again, tried him again, and chopped his head off. His tombstone reads "At Least He Never Touched a Little Boy's Butthole."
Pope Sergius III (904–911)
Oh, hey! Look! It's the dude who ordered the second exhumation and posthumous beheading of Pope Formosus (see above)! That's arguably the most hilarious dick move in the history of tumescence. Sergius, being a go-getter, also had his archenemy, Pope Leo V, strangled about the neck to death (maybe) and founded an era of popedom called the "pornocracy" or "rule of the harlots." Plus, he liked to wear something called the "papal tiara." So what you're saying is that he was basically a super-fabulous gay Larry Flynt with a great sense of humor who only maybe murdered a guy one time? Fuck it. Best pope ever.
Pope Lando (913–914)
History's turncoatiest pope. Sold his best friend to a bounty hunter for a couple of lousy space-bucks. Loved Colt 45. Died like immediately.
Pope John XII (955–964)
Much like cheap sheet cake and Jeremy Piven, this one seemed like an okay dude at first. John XII was descended from Charlemagne—pretty cool, right?—and minstrels sung far and wide that his beard was likened unto the downy haunches of a fetal lamb. Tight. Except oh, snap! What a dick! According to the Patrologia Latina (which was written before fiction was invented, so you know it's all true):
He had fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father's concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse. They said that he had gone hunting publicly; that he had blinded his confessor Benedict, and thereafter Benedict had died; that he had killed John, cardinal subdeacon, after castrating him; and that he had set fires, girded on a sword, and put on a helmet and cuirass. All, clerics as well as laymen, declared that he had toasted to the devil with wine. They said when playing at dice, he invoked Jupiter, Venus and other demons. They even said he did not celebrate Matins and the canonical hours nor did he make the sign of the cross.
Okay. I don't really give a care about the widow of Rainier, or public hunting, or cardinal subdeacon John's testicles. But the rest of that shit? It's like he wasn't even TRYING! Was he high? Did someone forget to tell him he was the pope? Because I'm pretty sure that "Don't turn the sacred palace into a whorehouse" is on page one of the rule book and "Don't toast to the devil in front of the clerics" is on PAGE FUCKING TWO. Also, take off that stupid cuirass, John XII. You look like a goddamn warrior princess.
Pope Benedict IX (1032–1048)
Born Theophylactus of Tusculum (which, as everyone knows, is also the name of the muscle that keeps your butthole closed), Dick-9 was—according to some other jerks—a rapist, a murderer, a dog-maker-lover-to, and "the only man ever to have sold the papacy." Wikipedia sums up his greatest hits:
St. Peter Damian described him as "feasting on immorality" and "a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest" in the Liber Gomorrhianus. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter"... Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."
Held no qualms about cutting in line.
Pope Innocent IV (1243–1254)
Invented bitter beer face. Tortured pilgrims or something.
Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303)
Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503)
Oh, Borgia pope! You crazy! Here's just the short list: bribed his way into office with "four mule-loads of silver"; stacked the entire government with his own kin; just murdered whoever all the time; probably gave the go-ahead to enslave the indigenous peoples of the New World (cool idea!); literal werewolf; would eat your leftovers without asking "just 'cause," even if you put a Post-it note on them; possibly boned his own daughter. As Lorenzo de Medici famously remarked: "Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen. And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all. Also, what happened to my chicken tikka? I left it right here in the work fridge. I put a Post-it on it, you guys! You guys! Boooooorgiaaaaaaaa!!!" Ironically, eventually killed by a silver bullet crafted from his own mule-load of silver (see above)—thereby coining the popular expression "killed by a silver bullet from your own mule-load."
Chelsea Pope (1989–1993)
My next-door neighbor growing up. Bitch borrowed my VHS copy of Beauty and the Beast and then never gave it back. She denied everything, her mom had a fight with my mom, total shit-show. Also captured and sold Hittite women into slavery in the southern Mediterranean for the carnal pleasures of the landed gentry. Mostly, I'm just mad about that VHS thing.
Pope Benedict XVI (2005–present)
The word "pope" is Spanish for "dad" (look it up), but this li'l Ratzcal is more like an uncle. Like the uncle who didn't care if his THOUSANDS OF FRIENDS CAME OVER AND TOUCHED YOU ON YOUR BUTTHOLE. Jesus Christ. Worst pope ever.
(Originally published here.)Show